Here’s what motivated you to write in 2020 (Part 2)
For over seven years, Richard Beynon, co-founder of All About Writing and designer and facilitator of our Creative Writing Course, our screenwriting courses, and more, has motivated you with his Monday musings on writing, inspiration, and stories.
To date, Richard has written almost 400 Monday Motivations – which means that if you read one a day, it would take you over a year to get through them. Plus, you’d probably know almost everything there is to know about being a good writer.
It’s 8:17 on Friday morning. I’m sitting in our living room with the autumn sun streaming in, half blinding me. Through the sliding doors and the floor-to-ceiling windows I can see the rippling waters of Priory Marina Lake, on which our houseboat* is tethered, and which more-or-less surrounds us.
The waters are, as I say, rippling, light glancing off their crests. But what we’ve come to realise over the months we’ve lived here – and specifically during the idleness enforced by covid, when we’ve spent hours watching the lake – is that the mood of the water changes not just day by day or hour by hour but minute by minute, depending on more variables than we can compute… [more]
The significant detail can usually nail a description, or pierce to the essence of a character.
Think of the sentence from a Guy de Maupassant story: “He was a gentleman with red whiskers who always went first through a doorway. That gentleman,” wrote Ford Maddox Ford, “is so sufficiently got in that you need know no more of him to understand how he will act.”
But from time to time stories demand more than just that one detail – they demand a list… [more]
“To write you need to be brave,” said one of our creative writing students this past week. “You have to put yourself out there. You have to take risks.” She paused then, and in a tone that was suddenly emotion-charged, added, “It can be very difficult.”
I made a note of her remarks because I thought she was right. Writing is difficult and it does require a certain courage – both to explore bits of yourself which, in the normal course of events, you’d rather conceal than reveal, and then to offer up what you’ve written to others to read… [more]
Think for a moment of some of the most memorable sentences in literature. “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”; or “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”; or “To be or not to be, that is the question”; or “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
These sentences are all characterised by their sheer clarity. Although each expresses what is, upon examination, an important, indeed, an existential, thought – they use the language of everyday, in clear and honest declarative statements… [more]
When I was at university, the writer whose new books we anticipated most was Kurt Vonnegut. He was cool. He was committed. He wrote books that straddled the line between science fiction and social commentary.
We found his books absolutely riveting. They were full of invention, sometimes wholly politically incorrect. (For instance, the Chinese decided to solve their overpopulation problem by breeding smaller people; in the end, they were so small that strong winds would pick up millions of them and blow them across the Pacific, where Americans would breathe them in and come down with a disease called the Yellow Peril)… [more]